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Welcome to BEIT: Beth El Is Thursday

Everyone is welcome to join in our In Person or Online BEIT Midrash on Thursday evenings. Our focus for these first months of 2023 is Jewish thought. Rabbi Shulman and our guests will explore Jewish ideas and current concerns. Winter BEIT sessions will be hybrid sessions, in person and online. We encourage you to join us in person whenever possible to make personal connections and engage in interesting conversations.

For these sessions, BEIT Experience II meets at 7:00 p.m. You may join us in person at Beth El or via Zoom from home. A 30-minute BEIT Experience I course about Jewish ideas taught by Rabbi Ron Shulman precedes these sessions each week at 6:30 p.m.

BEIT EXPERIENCE I
6:30 pm |  In Person & Online
 

Essential Jewish Ideas
Rabbi Ron Shulman
February 2, 9, & 16; March 2, 16, & 23
6:30 pm

Click here to join via Zoom

Each week we will consider and discuss an idea central to the Jewish world view and important for sustaining Jewish meaning in today’s world. The essential Jewish ideas we’ll explore briefly each week include how Jews and Judaism think about God (Messiah, Afterlife, Evil & Free Will), Torah (Covenant, Jewish Law, Ritual & Ethics), and Israel (Jewish Peoplehood, History, Destiny & Purpose). Questions, discussion, and personal curiosity will guide our sessions

Registration for BEIT I will be included in the weekly registrations listed below.

BEIT EXPERIENCE II
7:00 pm In Person & Online

 

Jews in the News
Rabbi Ron Shulman
February 2 | 7:00 pm

Click here to join via Zoom

We need to talk! Jews and Israel are ever present in the media, in news stories, and in our conversations. Some of the issues raise concerns, others reflect pride, and many simply present people and situations for us to understand. In this session, we’ll read, reflect, and discuss recent and current events that capture our attention. It’ll be best to talk together in person, though online participation is welcome.

REGISTER HERE

A note from Rabbi Shulman: I invite those of you who are interested to join me in conversation on Thursday evening February 2 at 7 p.m. (in person is preferable, online via Zoom is available) when we’re going to talk about “Jews in the News.” Among other current events, we’ll discuss The New York Times expose about Haredi, ultra-Orthodox, Yeshiva education in New York City and concerns being voiced inside and outside of Israel about Israel’s new government.

I invite you to this discussion because I sense some disquiet within, or even about, our Jewish community in the larger American Jewish conversation taking place between us and about us. We need to talk about how we as a community have a responsibility to define, represent, and explain what Judaism is and who Jews are.

You can read or listen to my first thoughts about these subjects and our “Disquiet Within” by clicking here.

Dr. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor Emeritus & Professor, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
February 9, 16, & 23
7:00 pm

We are delighted to welcome back Dr. Arnold Eisen who will teach a three-part series on Jewish thought, personal theology, and contemporary Jewish life. This is an opportunity to study with a master teacher and thought leader in Jewish life today. Dr. Eisen will provide brief readings for us to consider before each session.

The first two sessions, February 9 & 16, will be via Zoom. Dr. Eisen will be teaching us from New York. You may participate in person with us at Congregation Beth El or from home. The third session, February 23, Arnie Eisen will be with us in person at Congregation Beth El. We encourage participants to attend in person to share dinner and conversation with our guest scholar in addition to our learning. Online participation is welcome.

REGISTER HERE

The Joys and Vexations of Theology
February 9

Writing a book of personal theology, Dr. Arnold Eisen will explore how Jews do theology different from others. He will teach traditional and contemporary ideas that both enrich and complicate Jewish life. He will also discuss how what we believe impacts what we do and how we respond to the significant issues of our time.

For this session, Dr. Eisen will teach via Zoom from New York. You may participate in person with us at Congregation Beth El or from home.

 

Thought Options for Contemporary Jewish Commitment
February 16

What happens when two great Jewish thinkers (Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mordecai M. Kaplan) disagree about matters of Jewish belief? How does their dialogue on matters such as God, prayer, revelation, and relations between Jews and other religious groups influence the beliefs of others? How does such disagreement reflect itself in what we may think?

For this session, Dr. Eisen will teach via Zoom from New York. You may participate in person with us at Congregation Beth El or from home.

 

Zionist Theory Meets Israeli Reality
February 23

As we mark Israel’s 75th year of independence, Dr. Eisen asks how the study of classical Zionist thinkers can help make sense of the ideological trends present in modern day Israel. Is there really a religious and secular divide in Israel? What is the role of God in Jewish history? Is Israel a manifestation of human or Divine redemption for the Jewish people?

Dr. Eisen will be with us in person at Congregation Beth El for this session. We encourage participants to attend in person to share dinner and conversation with our guest scholar in addition to our learning. Online participation is also welcome.

American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, A Hasidic Village in Upstate New York
David Myers & Nomi Stzenberg
March 16
7:00 pm
 

Settled in the mid-1970’s by a small contingent of Hasidic families, Kiryas Joel is an American town with few parallels in Jewish history. Come learn the story of how this group of pious Yiddish speaking Jews has grown to become a thriving insular enclave and a powerful local government in upstate New York. Kiryas Joel has been stunningly successful in creating a world apart by using the very instruments of secular political and legal power that it disavows. Come learn about Satmar Hasidism from 19th century Hungary to Brooklyn, NY.

David Myers holds the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at UCLA.

Nomi Stolzenberg holds the Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair at the USC School of Law

Drs. Myers and Stolzenberg will teach via Zoom. You may participate in person with us at Congregation Beth El or from home.

REGISTER HERE

Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy
Ambassador Martin Indyk
March 23
7:00 pm
 

More than twenty years have elapsed since the United States last brokered a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. In that time, three presidents have tried and failed. Martin Indyk, a former United States Ambassador to Israel and special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013, has experienced these political challenges firsthand. Now, based on newly available documents from American and Israeli archives, he explores the origins of American-led peace efforts and the legacy of Henry Kissinger. Extensive interviews with Dr. Kissinger inform Ambassador Indyk’s insights.

Martin Indyk is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former US Ambassador to Israel, assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, and special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He served as President Obama’s special middle east envoy in 2013 and 2014.

REGISTER HERE

Preparing for Passover
Rabbi Ron Shulman
March 30 
 

6:30 p.m. | The Meaning of Matzah

What’s the purpose and symbolic meaning of the different foods we eat on Passover. How do we meaningfully and reasonably prepare our kitchens, homes, and selves to celebrate Passover?

7:00 p.m. | The Exodus Story: How the Haggadah Helps Us Tell It

We’re all familiar with the Passover Haggadah. We’re just not all sure what it’s talking about. Four Questions, Four Sons, Memories of Slavery and Freedom, Ritual Instructions, Seder Symbols, Traditional Rabbinic Texts, Mysterious Songs. How do we understand the Haggadah’s content and use it to create meaningful and enjoyable Seder celebrations?

Join Rabbi Shulman as part of your preparations for Passover this year. It’ll be best to talk and learn together in person, though online participation is also welcome.

REGISTER HERE

Sat, February 4 2023 13 Shevat 5783